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The Vine, Thai Food in Cheltenham

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Last week one of my girlfriends suggested going to The Vine for dinner, somewhere I had never been before in Cheltenham but had heard plenty of great reviews about.

The restaurant has a pub vibe which gives it a very laid back and relaxed environment. It was around 6.30pm and it was already starting to get busy so I would definitely advise booking a table in advance. We happened to grab a table on a whim towards the back of the room so it was slightly quieter. We sat down and perused the menu, Sidonie had been before so I asked her to recommend dishes (she knows I’m a wimp when it comes to heat and spice). There was a 2 courses for £7.50 special offer so we decided on doing that and ordered a couple of extra starters to share too. You have to make your order at the bar so if you prefer table service, this probably isn’t the restaurant for you.

Wine and spicy prawn crackers set the evening off to a good start.

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We had a giggle and a gossip whilst we waited on our starters, but we didn’t have to wait long which I was impressed with. We had ordered the vegetable spring rolls and prawn toast as part of the specials deal, as well as the Thai pork dumplings. Served with a small salad, each dish was delicious and the flavours tasted ‘authentic’ – something that is promised in the menu. The dim sum were my particular favourite, but I have my eye on trying the Thai fishcakes next time!

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Onto the next course!

The menu boasts a huge variety of dishes to choose from so it took some time trying to decide. I have wanted to try the Pad Thai with chicken for a long time and I’m always tempted by it when I see it on the menus in other restaurants. Sid chose the Thai green curry, which she requested to be ‘mild’ as opposed to hot that it was labelled as. Unfortunately the chef didn’t get the memo and it came out packed with a lot of heat! Luckily the portions are large and I shared some of my meal with Sid – one of the perks of ordering food you both enjoy.

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We both have a sweet tooth so had to order a pudding each, naughty but nice! I chose the chocolate fudge cake and Sidonie chose Glouy tod, Banana fritters in coconut and sesame seed batter, drizzled with honey served with vanilla ice cream – yum! 

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Here are Sid’s thoughts on The Vine...

I always enjoy going to The Vine – I like the atmosphere, music, candles etc. It’s good for meals with the boyfriend or an evening with friends. I usually get the Thai fish cakes because they are light and delicious, but the Dim Sum was lovely! They could hold on the red chilli in the Thai green curry but apart from that it’s an affordable restaurant for everyone.

As it’s Valentine’s Day coming up, I would recommend it for a first date as it’s not too formal and the lighting, service and music is perfect!

The whole experience overall was good, and I would highly recommend it to others. I’m looking forward to visiting again soon to taste more of the menu, there is something for everyone! You can check out The Vine’s restaurant and menu here – let me know if you take a visit!

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The Lost & Found, Birmingham

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Last weekend during my stay in Birmingham with friends, we were taken to our friend Alyson’s favourite pub in the city centre. The Lost & Found is a classic British restaurant that is situated in a large Victorian building featuring quirky rooms within. The interior is incredible, boasting a ‘library’ and a ‘conservatory’ – an Instagrammer’s dream! (Not to mention extremely Pinterest-worthy).

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You will need to book a table in advance as it gets super busy, especially during the festive period. We were greeted by a friendly waitress who escorted us to our table in the ‘dining room’, where we found this cute Alice in Wonderland style bottle with our reservation tagged on.

As I sipped on my Champagne cocktail, we devoured a board of delicious Polenta chips and marinated stuffed olives.

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In all of the excitement of gossip and giggles with the girls, I totally forgot to take a snap of my main meal. I ordered the Ultimate Fish Finger Sandwich, You will just have to take my word for it when I say that it really was the ultimate sandwich! 

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For dessert I opted for the Cappuccino Crème Brulée, two loves of mine combined. I dipped the hazelnut biscotti into the coffee froth, before reaching the crunchy caramelised topping that was hiding beneath the surface. Yum!

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Despite the service being a little slow (it was a busy Saturday lunch time), I really enjoyed the overall experience. If you happen to be visiting the city, I would highly recommend stopping by here. Good friends and a cocktail required.

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Bill’s restaurant, Cheltenham

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Bill’s has opened in Cheltenham, finally.

I’ve been a massive fan of the UK chain ever since sampling their delicious fish finger sandwich last year in the Bristol branch, so you can probably understand why I got excited when I heard through the grapevine that they were opening one in my home town!

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Myself and Sid donned the latest accessory (a Bill’s freebie before entering the restaurant) before heading in to taste the  food delights.

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We had booked a table as it was still the first week of opening, and within seconds of walking in we were taken to our seats.

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Whilst we were awaiting our food and drinks we noticed there was a real buzz and energy in the room, and the interior is particularly Pinterest worthy . The décor of the restaurant is rustic with a shabby chic style, yet still very modern. I love the large lamp shades and the wine storage cupboard especially.

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Our drinks soon arrived – we both sipped on my favourite Amaretto Sours to start the evening off.

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Then our food arrived!

We shared two starters – a plate of crispy lemon squid, with a gorgeous garlic and lemon mayo sauce to dip, and grilled halloumi and cous cous salad. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the latter at first, but the flavours of the cheese with lemon, pomegranate, mint and parsley together worked really well.

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As it had been an unhealthy day of eating I chose the avocado, bacon and spinach salad which was delicious! I have recently been enjoying swapping lettuce with spinach as a healthier alternative, dare I say that I prefer the swap? The presentation of the dish was also impressive, making a salad look instantly more interesting.

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Sid chose the grilled sea bream which looked amazing, and from a cheeky forkful, also tasted pretty good.

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We ended the evening with cappuccinos instead of pudding, despite the desserts sounding too good to pass up.

The menu is full of variety and I plan on trying everything at some point – especially as I’ve heard that they are most famous for their breakfast/brunch menu…

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If you haven’t been to Bill’s yet, what are you waiting for? Click here to head to the website and find your nearest restaurant.

P.s. I have since discovered that the pink shower cap is actually designed for bicycle seats, oops!

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